moving to the islan...
 
Notifications
Clear all

moving to the islands ... still have questions

 
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

Greetings everyone once again!

I've made no secret of the fact that I will be moving to the Islands in a few months. I've done (and am doing more) research, and to that end, I have a question that I've not found answers to elsewhere.

I am thinking of starting a food vendor cart in StX. I know I have to get a food handler's license, but what other restrictions and licenses will I be challenged with? From assisting others in business here on the mainland, I know this can be a lucrative business especially for an old hippie like myself!

What advice can you give me here, and what agencies should I start contacting for further information? Of course, I will be better able to get a good focus on things when I get there, I just don't like to wait til the last minute to get the basics done.

Anyway.... help? Please?

Jonathan

Quote
Topic starter Posted : January 24, 2011 7:44 am
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

You will need a business license. You going to have to learn how to pay local taxes, gross receipts are due by the 30th each month, its a hidden sales tax of sorts. If you have any employees, SS & medicare got to the feds, but withholding stays here, etc... I imagine you need some kind of permit if you want to be downtown or any location, but I don't know what entity that would be. I would think you will need a health permit for you food van as well but not sure. When you do your PMV you'll need to hunt down one of these guys and ask. We really have very few of them, and most of them seem to focus on Hovensa.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 24, 2011 11:20 am
fdr
 fdr
(@fdr)
Trusted Member

From assisting others in business here on the mainland, I know this can be a lucrative business especially for an old hippie like myself!

Good morning Jonathan,

What's lucrative on the mainland may not offer such a wide profit margin down here due to availability of inputs and price of utilities. Do a lot of research into costs when you make your business plan. Good luck!

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 24, 2011 2:27 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Don't know about STX, but on STT it can be difficult finding a good, affordable location for your mobile food business. Many of the ones you see here have had those locations for maybe 20+ years, and they aren't leaving. If/when they do, there's a good possibility that the govt won't allow a new vendor to take the spot.

If someone says you can lease a spot on their property, you need to make sure they have the legal right to do so.

If you check the VI Dept of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, there's a list of all the licenses they issue. I'm not sure if there's a mobile food vendor's license, but I know there's a Vendor's License.

You need to be flexible about the type of food you offer, because the majority of the population expects Caribbean food. Many new food establishments participate in the Food Fair days at Carnival, the Agricultural Fairs, and various other food events as a way of keeping their name in the public eye.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 24, 2011 3:47 pm
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

hey thanks for the information! i'm really appreciative of the help... being way up here it's difficult to get the scoop on things so thank you so much! the fist hot dog is on me! lol

jonathan

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 24, 2011 4:02 pm
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

I think it's a really good idea. During Festival in C'sted there was a new food truck...they were selling brisket sandwiches and it went over REALLY well...they are opening a place in Princesse...but that truck they have is nice...They are continentals can't remember the name I think it's Blues BBQ....

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 24, 2011 5:08 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Brisket is good. During Carnival in STT last year, somebody from the States had a very nice mobile food van with premium coffees and some other things. They were hoping to sell their concept to others, but I haven't seen them since.

Jonathan, I don't eat hot dogs!!! I would love to see a food concession specializing in fried food only (I know it's going against the food police trend, but...) with fried meat and vegetables. I love fried cauliflower, tempura, chicken, french fries, etc but nobody's doing strictly fried with a vegetable option. At the Rasta Ag Fair, they do fried cauliflower. In the States, I've had lots of fried veggies.

I've often thought about doing a busiiness with just burgers - chicken, fish, veggie, and beef, but done different ways like jerk, plain, etc. Everybody loves a burger, and they're easy to do.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 24, 2011 9:58 pm
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

hahahaha... yes, we ummmm don't want to go against the food police, do we? still... fried food is great. i owned a small diner once in a past life (which is one reason i want to try this venture on the islands) and made fried pies amongst other things. also, fried green beans are actually a great appetizer or just good to munch on... hell, anything fried is great!

and i do understand about not eating hot dogs... not everyones' cup of tea. i was thinking maybe sloppy joes too, and at this stage in my plan things are really negotiable. i'm actually getting ready to start the vending thing here in montana as well. unfortunately i don't have a large food truck BUT i'm very good with working around challenges. i do have a solution.

by the way... in an earlier post i was asking about shipping my van down... i got a solid price of 1200 dollars to have it shipped so i'm going to outfit it with what i need to do business there before i ship it. i'm doing a slide-out kitchen of sorts that slides out the back of the van and is free-standing. i've crunched the numbers and the weight factor... it'll work. which will leave space inside the van shell for storage of food stuff, pops, whatever.

anyway... keep the info coming! when i get there, the first dogs are on me! lol.

jonathan

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 25, 2011 1:52 am
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

Oh and jonathanS if you havent already talked to Noah on here you need to...

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 25, 2011 2:52 am
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

noah? no, have not had the pleasure. will have to look him up. thanks

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 25, 2011 5:21 am
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

actually i just searched his name... no results ... hmmmmmmm

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 25, 2011 5:23 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

Try chefnoah.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 25, 2011 8:19 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

His screen name is Chefnoah.

One restaurant here had fried string beans for a while. Loved them! They're no longer offered.

Soups are very popular here. Another possibility.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 25, 2011 8:27 am
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

hmmmm all food for thought... no pun intended

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 26, 2011 3:06 am
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

ms411,

Yes, I went to the restaurant last night looking for the fried green beans. Sorry to see it has been replaced. But the happy menu with $5 burgers is not so bad although they looked rather plain.

Pamela

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 26, 2011 4:31 pm
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

yeah i do undersand about the plain burgers... ive never had that issue with mine.... i guess i like to cook for others the same stuff that i like to eat myself... and im really picky! lol.

im putting together my cart here and im shipping it to the islands with my van... imagine that... restaurant quality from a cart... think it will go over there?

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 26, 2011 7:15 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Pamela, happy new year! I thought they started offering the $5 burgers to compete with the restaurant across the street. Their jerk burger is REALLY good, and about the same price at happy hour. I'd love to try their other burgers.

Did they have the sweet potato fries?

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 26, 2011 10:53 pm
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

love sweet potatoe fries! never tried a jerk burger tho. i like buffalo burgers

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 27, 2011 12:16 am
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

yeah i do undersand about the plain burgers... ive never had that issue with mine.... i guess i like to cook for others the same stuff that i like to eat myself... and im really picky! lol.

im putting together my cart here and im shipping it to the islands with my van... imagine that... restaurant quality from a cart... think it will go over there?

If your food is good it will always go over well. The hard part may be location.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 27, 2011 12:45 am
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

yes... im going to have to do some work on the location thing. right now, im still waiting for the gov to get back with me on licenses, insurance requirements, etc.... we will see what happens

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 27, 2011 8:31 am
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Waiting on the govt to get back to you? Let me know if they do, it will be a first. Here you have to be pleasant but pushy. And when it comes to anything govt related you usually need to keep going down in person till it gets done. Many people use a lawyer to get the ball rolling to get their business start up going. You'll have better luck getting them to call you back.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 27, 2011 10:39 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

On STT a few people do converge services, and I've used them in the past to get govt forms.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 27, 2011 1:46 pm
chefnoah
(@chefnoah)
Trusted Member

Hi JonathanS,

Sounds like you're going for it!

I'll echo what people say about food quality. If you're good and consistent, you'll grow a strong following.
Also, if you're exciting, new and have something different to offer, you'll really take off.

I work at a food distribution company, so PM me if you wanna talk shop.
Noah

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 27, 2011 3:31 pm
JonathanS
(@JonathanS)
Advanced Member

Noah! thank you so much for your words of encouragement! Yep... I'm gonna do this thing! I shall certainly be talking to you soon!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 27, 2011 4:00 pm
Close Menu